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110 Answers We Want About Windows 8 At Microsoft WPC

1. The App StoreMicrosoft will reportedly feature an application marketplace in Windows 8. We’d like to see Microsoft provide details at WPC and show how it benefits channel partners. Considering Mac OS X Lion will support Apple’s Mac App Store, and that OS is launching this month, now is the time for Microsoft to discuss its alternative.

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2. Version SupportMicrosoft’s more recent operating systems have offered several different options from Home to Pro. At WPC we’d like to see Microsoft discuss version support this time around to not only inform customers, but also help channel partners plan for the future.

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3. How Much Will It Cost?Microsoft has kept Windows 8 pricing close to the vest so far. Chances are Microsoft won’t break from that at WPC and provide information on pricing. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t do so. The sooner it talks pricing, the sooner the company can put pressure on competitors and help channel partners plan.

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4. Can We Get A Release Date?When Steve Ballmer said recently in an interview that Windows 8 would be launching next year, his company’s PR team quickly turned around and said he was mistaken. Microsoft has yet to say when the OS will launch. At WPC Ballmer should end the secrecy and provide a ballpark time period of when Windows 8 will be available.

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5. How Will Windows 8 Perform On Tablets?Windows 8 is shaping up to be a go-to platform for some tablet vendors, thanks to its support for ARM architecture. But Windows 8 performance on tablets remains in question. Microsoft has said that it will work just fine, but that’s not enough. At WPC Microsoft should offer some benchmarks to prove its next operating system will be a tablet winner.

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6. Why It’s Better Than Windows 7Companies around the globe are fully aware that Windows 8 is right around the corner. Should they deploy Win7 or wait for Win 8? At WPC, Microsoft will have to make it clear why it believes its upcoming option is better than Windows 7. If it can’t make that case, it could have a long-term negative effect on its Windows 8 sales.

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7. How It Will Compete With Chrome OSLast month, Google’s vendor partners released the first Chrome OS-based devices, called Chromebooks. The lightweight, netbook-like devices are designed to take on mobile computers running Windows. For now, Chrome OS and Chromebooks are not a threat, but they might be at some point in the future. At WPC, Microsoft should discuss its commitment to the cloud in Windows 8, and perhaps most importantly, discuss how it plans to compete against the Chrome OS threat.

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8. How It Will Stack Up Against LionWindows isn’t competing in a vacuum. In fact, the platform is competing against Mac OS X, and later this month, Apple will be launching the a new installment of that operating system, called Lion. The OS will ship with the Mac App Store built-in, and feature a host of improvements, including multitouch support. Microsoft must address how Windows 8 will address the shortcomings Windows 7 faces when compared to Lion.

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9. A RoadmapMicrosoft has promised partners a “roadmap” for the future at WPC. Now Microsoft needs to follow through and provides its partners with a full roadmap on what it has planned with Windows 8.

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10. Vendor RelationshipsVendor relationships remain a crucial key to Microsoft and channel partner strategy. That’s why Microsoft should spend some time discussing how Windows 8 will be supported when it launches next year. Chances are, all the major players, including HP, Dell, and others will be doubling down on Windows 8, but consider that HP plans to run WebOS on its computers, Dell is using Android for its mobile products, and Acer is a Chrome OS vendor. It’s time for some reassurance on strong vendor relationships is in order from Microsoft.